Highs and lows

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

SO WE’VE come to this time of yearenders and annual assessments. How, in fact, was 2013?

I shall remember the terror of the earthquake on Oct. 15, and the viciousness of Yolanda on Nov. 8.

Though my husband and I were in Chicago when the earth moved too strongly here in Cebu, the terror and anxiety was also ours. I feared for the safety of my 95-year-old father, my Cebu-based daughter and her family, and my older brother who lives alone now since his wife’s death.

Fortunately, they were safe, though this year marked my four-year-old grandson’s introduction to the word “ehkweyk.” In school he learned the words “evaporation” and “condensation,” but “ekweyk” will outlast them in his memory.

Yolanda will remain a battle-cry for everyone, whether or not we admit it. For the speed with which people here and abroad rushed to extend relief assistance. For the volumes of food donations that filled warehouses ceiling-high.

Even into the new year, “Yolanda” will continue to be a disclosure of sorts. Some Cebuano friends immediately rushed to northern Cebu like Medellin, Bogo and Bayan, or to Guiuan, Samar and mobilized friends and connections to bring aid.

Other Cebuanos were overheard wondering--to the shock of Leyteños nearby--why their agency’s Christmas parties were cancelled. Imagine such insensitive statements as “Ngano man? Kalayo ra anang Leyte; kalayo ra nato (Why cancel the party? Leyte is far away).”

We’re thankful for the victories in beauty contests--Miss International (again!), and Miss World (finally, at long last!). Also for pugilist-turned-champion-turned-congressman Manny Pacquiao for his latest victory in the boxing ring. But no, no, no, never, I won’t support the crazy suggestion to exempt him from paying taxes. Kay ngano man uroy!

Amid others’ happy moments, some friends were not spared their personal sorrows. Some former classmates and students lost their loved ones: Classmates Thelma Enage-Arambulo and her sister Josefina lost their brother Boyet;

UP Cebu High alumni Jose “Viking” and Mercedes “Verse” Logarta said goodbye to their beloved mother Teodora Despues Logarta last Dec. 26; she was 84 years old. She is also survived by four other children: Josephine, Roberto, Abigail and Hilario. After the 8 a.m. requiem today, she will be buried in the Cebu Memorial Park in Banilad this city.

Another UP Cebu High alumnus Ritchie Awit lost his father Osias “Sonny” Awit last week. Ritchie fondly remembers how his father never failed their daily ritual together--that of father combing his son’s hair before sending off the lad to school.

Still, we celebrate for the right reasons. For marriages that have lasted 50 years, like that of former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. and Virginia Perez-Davide, parents of Cebu’s Gov. Hilario “Jun-Jun” Davide. Theirs is a marriage built to last, inspiring other couples to duplicate their feat.

My personal celebration is for my family’s good health, genuine love and affection, and for friendships strong as ever, despite geographical distances. These alone have been God’s great gifts, and more than enough to welcome the new year ahead!


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 30, 2013.


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